Doctor Who: Season 16, Episode 5

The Pirate Planet: Part One (30 Sep. 1978)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Adventure, Drama, Family
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Ratings: 7.9/10 from 203 users  
Reviews: 6 user | 4 critic

In seeking the second segment of the Key to Time, the TARDIS heads for an icy world but lands on a populated planet that shouldn't be there.



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Title: The Pirate Planet: Part One (30 Sep 1978)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Bruce Purchase ...
Andrew Robertson ...
Ralph Michael ...
David Sibley ...
David Warwick ...
Primi Townsend ...
Clive Bennett ...
Bernard Finch ...
Adam Kurakin ...
John Leeson ...
K9 (voice)


Continuing their quest for the Key to Time, the Doctor, Romana and K-9 travel to the cold planet Calufrax, but the TARDIS lands somewhere else instead - right time, right place, but wrong planet. It's a curious world ruled with an iron fist (somewhat literally) by the cybernetic space pirate known as The Captain and littered with the rarest gemstones in the galaxy. As the Doctor tries to get an accurate sense of the place (and find Calufrax), one of the planet's younger citizens, suffering nightmares of a sort, becomes the target of a group of monk-like telepaths. Written by Daniel Williamson / revised by statmanjeff

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

30 September 1978 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The production of "The Pirate Planet" was treated to a visit by Louise Jameson, who had played Leela until the end of the previous season. Jameson stopped by to visit Pennant Roberts as well as her successor, Mary Tamm, whom she knew from their days together at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. See more »


The Doctor: Well, according to these space-time coordinates, we have arrived at precisely the right point in space at precisely the right time.
Romana: Yes, I know.
The Doctor: But to the wrong planet.
Romana: What?
The Doctor: This isn't Calufrax.
Romana: Then where are we?
The Doctor: I haven't got the faintest idea.
See more »


Referenced in 'Doctor Who': The Pertwee Years (1992) See more »

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User Reviews

Stop It This Is Getting Very Silly
12 January 2014 | by (Isle Of Bute , Scotland) – See all my reviews

Searching for the second segment of The Key To Time the Doctor and Romana land on the Planet Calufrax where they find the oppressive regime led by the Captain are casting out a strange band of outsiders called The Mentiads . Perhaps more shocking is the fact they're not Calufrax at all

The Pirate Planet was written by Douglas Adams just before he became famous for his novel THE HITCH HIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY which gives a hint of what you might just expect from this story . It's outlandish , silly and often resembles a futuristic pantomime featuring Long John Silver . As expected Barry Purchase plays the Silver surrogate The Captain with OTT bluster and bombast which is full blown and keeping with the feel of the story . However it becomes clear that there isn't much of a story

The story itself is an unsatisfying mix of ideas and subplots . Like so many stories from the classic series the good race are non descript and bland and merely exist to suffer at the hands of the villains . It's a pity that everywhere the Tardis lands he always comes across a race called " Cypher people " who no matter what power and nuances they're given always fail to convince , usually because as seen here they're played by not very good actors who fail to make an impression on the audience . The acting is either completely uninvolving or completely OTT . In fact it's so uneven you might get seas sick watching this story . Perhaps this is why recently rewatching it I can hardly recall seeing it at all

2 of 3 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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